Friday, May 13, 2016

Chita in the Rear View Mirror

I just used up the last of some peanuts I had bought in China in a stir-fry I just made. The brand name of the peanuts, printed in English on the package among all the Chinese writing, was "Special Legal Product." I bought was I thought was brown rice here at a grocery store in Chita, but it turned out to be buckwheat groats. No big deal, still made for a great stir-fry. All the produce here in Russia that I have found in the grocery stores (and in China and Mongolia as well) is shrink-wrapped in plastic. Even some ginger root I bought was wrapped.  But in the open markets that is often not the case. The open markets also usually have better variety in produce. Most of the grocery stores don't seem to have many fresh vegetables. I managed to round up some fresh slightly hot peppers, carrots, and celery, mix it all with a bunch of finely diced ginger, some frozen broccoli, a bit of salt and a pinch of sugar, all served over the buckwheat groats. Not as well-spiced as I would prefer, but it did the trick.

That was the first time that I had cooked a meal in Russia. I've been mostly going out for food, or just eating raw fruits and snacks.  Now I am going to have to stock up on train food, as I'm leaving Chita, and getting back on the train for my longest leg of the Trans-Siberian so far. I'll be on the train for a couple of days. And this time, I will be in kupé, or second-class, but, unlike my other train trips, I have an upper berth for the first time. Oh well, shouldn't be too bad.

Train food consists, first of all, of anything I can make with the boiling water from the samovars on the train. A lot of people bring ramen noodles, I've done that too. Also I like to bring dried fruit and nuts, maybe some cookies or biscuits. Also I need to make sure that I have plenty of water, though if I run out, I can at least cool down some of the boiling water from the train. Most of the tap water is not safe to drink, but the good news is that it is mostly organisms in the water, rather than heavy metals or other contaminants (at least not in huge amounts, those things are probably everywhere to some degree), so boiling the water for a bit will sterilize it. I also have some water purification tabs that I have occasionally used. I'll also bring the leftovers of today's stir-fry; I've probably still got a couple meals left of that. And I have some instant coffee and some liquid stevia that I brought from Austin (of course, there is always the "Breaking Bad stevia scenario", but at least it is my private stash). Maybe I'll have enough food so I don't have to go to the restaurant car, or buy anything from the vendors at the stops.  But I probably will hit the restaurant car anyway, just for the experience.

1 comment:

  1. It's great to pack food so you don't feel like you have to hit the restaurants, but still, restaurants are a big part of the experience of travel. At least to me. Especially the little out-of-the-way places, which you seem to have a knack for finding.